Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Oil well wall anchor

Using a wall anchor or stent like device to stop a broken oil well
  [vote for,

Wall anchors, concrete bolts or clinical stents all use some mechanism to expand to contact a tube wall. This provides friction to old. If covered appropriately it could also be used to seal the hole. More details at http://bit.ly/leak-fix-diy
martyvis, May 30 2010

Detail http://bit.ly/leak-fix-diy
Detail on Oil Well wall anchor / stent [martyvis, May 31 2010]


       Sounds reasonable.   

       On the other hand, they've got to do this stuff 1000 metres under water with oil gushing out. I figure that's why they've gone for the simple options like "drop something on it" or, more recently "drop something in it".
MaxwellBuchanan, May 30 2010

       I agree about the 1500m distance and the pressure and the water. I guess in favour of my idea is that they seem to have robots doing a lot of this already. A friend a mine drives a laser-guided under-road boring tool (for putting conduits in) and faces similar issues with remote controlling machines.
martyvis, May 31 2010

       The trouble with the current strategy of sending robots down to do the work is that it entirely depends on which sort of robot. If it is the kind of robot from the early black and white ’60’s series “Lost In Space”, then not a lot of work will get done, and before long those robots will malfunction, as they’re not waterproof under the sea. If it is the C-3PO kind of robot from Star Wars, then similarly, I doubt they’ll stand up to the pressure without coming apart and making a fuss. If it is Gort from the original black and white film “The Day The Earth Stood Still”, they might have some chance, providing the words can be heard clearly at the appropriate time. Either way, it looks like there’ll be a high chance that the robot will be in black and white.
Ian Tindale, May 31 2010

       You'd think something like this would work. Once the bent section of riser is cut off, even with drill pipe in it, it should be possible to fix an open valve either to the outside, to the BOP structure, or to the inside with an annular expansion ring as you suggest (going around the drill pipe), and then cut off the flow sufficiently to allow filling of the casing with mud, thus making the top kill method practical. So I don't see the logic of diverting the flow to the surface, as BP wants to do, which just invites a hurricane to bear down on collection ship.
ldischler, May 31 2010

       If the broken pipe is sticking up, how about making a giant version of those "chinese finger traps"? Then it should be possible to create a gigantic and bouyant replica finger to put in the other end and pull.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 31 2010

       I think BP has used the Chinese finger trap on Obama. They told him the well was plugged, he took complete responsibility, and then they said, ah, no...sorry.
ldischler, May 31 2010


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